Only 5 trains to run as LRT-2 resumes partial operations

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 8) – Passengers can only use five out of 10 trains in the Light Rail Transit (LRT) 2, as the train service provider resumes partial operations from Cubao to Recto, a transportation official said early Tuesday.

Light Rail Transit Authority spokesman Hernando Cabrera told CNN Philippines that this is to prevent another electrical glitch after the power supply transformers between the Anonas and Katipunan stations tripped, causing a fire on Thursday last week. The blaze prompted the LRT-2 management to suspend train service operations.

“Unfortunately, we have to have a delicate balance in the number of trains we are going to use … kasi pag nasobrahan natin ang tren, (if we add more trains), the power supply system could trip,” he said, adding that they have to resolve the remaining electrical defects before they could deploy more trains.

Cabrera said LRT-2 have two spare trains that could also be used while other trains were "trapped" in the Santolan depot. 

The LRT-2, which normally accommodates an average of 200,000 passengers daily through its 11 stations, run from Santolan Station in Pasig to Recto Avenue in Manila.

Buses and other public utility vehicles which ply through the LRT-2 route were deployed to accommodate affected passengers.

The LRT-2 management is also eyeing to include in the partial operations Anonas station within a week or two. Full operations may resume after nine months as repairs in Santolan and Anonas stations are underway, Cabrera said.

The government is also looking at the possibility of using the new equipment purchased for the LRT-2’s Masinag extension project to replace the damaged parts of the affected line.

PH has 'mass transport crisis'

Militant group Bayan said that the country has “mass transport crisis,” citing the lack of vehicles that could ferry commuters to and from work and school.

The group also criticized the lawmakers for not probing the matter. It also cited as basis for legislative inquiry the technical issues suffered by major train lines such as the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, LRT1 and LRT2 last week.

It said: “Is this situation not yet a cause for a legislative investigation? Shouldn't this be examined during the budget hearings, as there are government agencies involved? When will the Senate look into these issues?”

The transportation department dismissed the claim, saying “recent and ongoing improvements” on existing railway lines prove otherwise.

Transportation Undersecretary for Railways TJ Batan told CNN Philippines: “We just want them to be accurate by looking at the bigger picture how the railway network is being improved as we speak.”

The group also criticized the lawmakers for not probing the matter. It also cited as basis for legislative inquiry the technical issues suffered by major train lines such as the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 3, LRT-1 and LRT-2 last week.

It said: “Is this situation not yet a cause for a legislative investigation? Shouldn't this be examined during the budget hearings, as there are government agencies involved? When will the Senate look into these issues?”

It also said that for MRT-3 and LRT-1, the government should "abandon any proposal for a fare hike given the quality of service that they have given commuters."

Batan assured the commuting public that only if there is a significant improvement in the service to passengers will a proposal for a fare increase in MRT-3 and LRT-2 be pushed.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Makoi Popioco contributed to this report